Inside the changing fortunes of the world’s richest


Gautam Adani lost $35 billion in a week and dropped out of the ten richest in the world. But Mark Zuckerberg saw his biggest one-day gain since taking Facebook public.

The fortunes of some of the world’s richest people took a hefty swing this past week. Images: Getty

The fortunes of some of the world’s richest people took a hefty swing this past week–in both directions. Indian tycoon Gautam Adani‘s ranking among the world’s richest continued to drop and his group on Wednesday announced it was cancelling a $2.5 billion stock offering for Adani Enterprises that it had just completed. His fortune is now less than half what it was two weeks ago, following allegations by a short seller of stock manipulation and accounting fraud. (Adani Group denies the allegations.)

The S&P 500 was up by a modest 1.6% this week and the Nasdaq up 3.3%. This week’s biggest gainers outperformed those indices. Mark Zuckerberg had his biggest day yet, with shares of Meta Platforms catapulting 23% Thursday following the social media company’s latest earnings report, which exceeded analysts’ expectations.

And the gender mix of the world’s top 10 richest changed–a little bit. L’Oreal heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers moved into that elite group–one that had been all men earlier this week.

Here’s how some of the world’s richest people fared last week.

The net worth change is from close of markets Friday, January 27 through Friday, February 3.

All figures in this article are in USD.

Gautam Adani

Net Worth: $61.7 bil Down $34.9 bil
Gautam Adani. Image: Getty

Adani, who was was the third-richest person in the world as of January 24, continued his slide down the ranks of the world’s richest in the past week–part of the ongoing fallout from allegations last week by short-seller Hindenburg Research that Adani’s group of companies engaged in stock manipulation and accounting fraud. On Wednesday, Adani Enterprises announced it was cancelling a $2.5 billion share offering that it had just completed. Adani’s fortune plunged $35 billion this past week–following a $31 billion drop the previous week. Altogether, his net worth has been halved in the past two weeks and he now ranks the 17th richest globally, worth $61.7 billion, according to Forbes, just behind Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Two companies that Hindenburg Research accused of assisting the Adani Group in the alleged conspiracy include Elara Capital (India) Private Limited and Monarch Network Capital, which Forbes reported on Wednesday were two of the underwriters Adani Enterprises disclosed in its $2.5 billion share offering earlier this week.

Adani overtook fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani last February to become the richest person in Asian and the 10th richest in the world; in September became the second richest with a fortune of $155 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg

Net Worth: $66.8 bil Up $12.1 bil
Founder and CEO of US online social media and social networking service Facebook Mark Zuckerberg had his biggest one-day increase in ten years.. Image: Getty

Meta Platforms reported Wednesday that the company beat its fourth-quarter earnings estimates, and in response the share price skyrocketed up 23% on Thursday. That was good news for founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth rose more than $12 billion due to the spike, making it his biggest one-day increase since taking Facebook public in May 2012. Throughout 2022 Zuckerberg lost some $78 billion of his fortune as Meta’s advertising revenue declined and Meta’s shares fell. Now Zuckerberg is the 16th richest person in the world and worth $66.8 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaires tracker.

Zuckerberg, who has been pushing development of the Metaverse, seemed to shift course during Meta’s earnings call on Wednesday, declaring 2023 the “year of efficiency” and discussing generative AI tech that has attracted other big names such as Microsoft and Alphabet.

Elon Musk

Net Worth: $184.2 bil Up $2.9 bil
Elon Musk. I
Elon Musk. Image: Getty

Following the better than expected fourth-quarter earnings reported by Tesla on January 25, the stock had another good week, rising nearly 7% and lifting Musk’s fortune by $2.9 billion. On Friday, the IRS updated its guidelines for defining a crossover or SUV, qualifying the Tesla Model Y for additional clean vehicle tax credits. Musk ranks as the No. 2 richest person in the world after LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyerset

Worth: $84 bil Up $2 bil

Earlier this week the world’s ten richest people were all men. That changed on Friday, when Francoise Bettencourt Meyers moved into the No. 10 spot, up No. 12 at the end of last week. She and her children are one-third owners of cosmetics giant L’Oreal S.A., shares of which rose nearly 2% on Friday. That was enough to land her above former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (at No. 11) and India’s Mukesh Ambani (at No. 12).

Brian Armstrong

Net Worth: $3.1 bil Up $540 mil

The CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global saw his wealth jump 20% this week, notably after a federal judge in New York on Wednesday dismissed a class-action suit against Coinbase; the suit alleged that dozens of tokens offered by Coinbase were unregistered securities and were not properly sold to customers. The dismissal indicated to investors that there is “low risk medium-term” for exchanges, whIch are not yet subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Owen Lau, a senior analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. Coinbase shares ended the week up nearly 22%, and Armstrong’s fortune climbed $540 million.

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